An inventive and twisty short, Coming Home has a seemingly good time building up your expectations for one storyline only to make a labyrinthian turn in another direction that may have not been expected but makes perfectly good sense.
Directed by Shiva Rodriguez and co-written by Shiva with D. Duckie Rodriguez, Coming Home is a 15-minute short film in the horror/thriller genre that an angry teenager who commits a series of horrific murders unaware that he is being tracked by a family that takes a special interest in serial killers.
If everything stopped right there, you'd have a pretty typical horror short.
That would be perfectly fine. I've seen it many times.
However, Coming Home, rumored to be headed toward a more expanded cinematic effort, doesn't stop right there and it's all the better for it.
The angry teenager, Crawford, is a traditionally gothic sort played with brooding malice by Nicholas Trivisonno, is an obviously wounded young man with a build-up of hurts and a cognitive bent likely already askew. The film's opening scene more than hints that the damage is already done inside Crawford by the time we've met him. By the time the family comes into play, it's unclear if community stand-out Aaron (Emre Orun), his wife (Lowrie Fawley), or his son, Jeffrey (Blayze Hippensteel) have any chance of actually discovering and reaching the troubled Crawford.
Coming Home is, for the most part, an effective short film with enough chills and thrills to please most horror fans. The horror short is proving to be a success on the indie fest circuit with screenings at a handful of fests including Los Angeles Cinefest and Feel the Reel among others.
While the film feels a tad restrained at times, there's an underlying viciousness dying to get out that at times reminded me of a more grassroots American Psycho, Coming Home benefits from having a collective of intriguing characters created by the Rodriguez's. These characters, simultaneously familial and frightening, keep you involved even when the dialogue occasionally feels muted and the performances a tad off.
Still, there's something special working in Coming Home and it will be interesting to see where it's taken from here. It feels like the foundation is established for a creative, compelling indie horror story and I look forward to watching the film's journey.